This tadpole shaped island is located at the mouth of Manila Bay off the Bataan peninsula served as the first line of defense of the capital city ever since the Spanish period. Even though it is nearer to Bataan, this island and its adjacent islands are part of the province of Cavite.
It was called as the island of Correction in the Spanish times where galleon ships entering Manila Bay are checked. And during the time of American occupation, the island became a fortress to protect Manila from invaders. In WWII, the island fell to the power of the Japanese empire. Today, the island has been converted into an island museum.
The tour operator Sun Cruises exclusively provide daily tours to the island. To get to the island, one has to book a day tour with Sun Cruises at their ferry terminal in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex in Manila. Their package includes the day tour, ferry transfer, lunch, and entrance fees. One has an option to take an overnight package with hotel accommodation on the island. Day Tour costs Php 1,999.
So one has to catch the ferry ride to island which usually leave port at around 8am. The ferry ride to the Corregidor South dock from the Manila ferry terminal takes about 45 minutes on board a fast craft.
Upon arrival on Corregidor, each visitor will be distributed to different tramvias with a tour guide assigned. All English speaking visitors are grouped together. A Japanese speaking tour guide joins the Japanese tourists.
The first stop on the tour is the McArthur Park, in honor of General Douglas McArthur who led the American forces in battling the Japanese empire during the WWII. He was best known in the country for his famous word ‘I Shall Return’.
Next stop is the President Manuel L. Quezon Memorial Park in honor of the late President of the Philippine Commonwealth. This park is located on a higher portion of the island. At one end of the park is a structure that has murals depicting the different revolutions that occurred during the Spanish era. In the middle the murals is a small museum with the statue of Quezon on it.
Another park in the island is the Japanese Garden of Peace in tribute to the Japanese forces that died on the island during WWII. It is characterized by the different armories that were left on the spot like big cannon guns. Also, a 10 foot statue of a lady Buddha stands at one area.
Then the stop of the tour is the Malinta Tunnel. This tunnel passes through a mountain with a network of other tunnels that was used by the American forces to contain their armor and weapons to be hidden from air attacks. Today a light and sound tour allows visitors to get a glimpse of the events that occurred during WWII when the Japanese forces attacked the island.
Tramvias of guests wait at the other end of the tunnel. After the light and sound tour, visitors are brought to the island hotel for a buffet lunch.
After lunch, the tour proceeds to the Topside of the island. On this section, the ruins of the Topside barracks will be seen. The topside of the island has most of the cannons and armors of the island. And within this section, the tour stops on sections where the big cannons are located, including the longest cannon on the island.
Another famous landmark on the island that the tour passes through is the ruins of the Mile Long barracks which used to contain the chambers of the American forces on the island. It is located in the center of the island where not far from the barracks is the ruins of Cine Corregidor where movies where shown for the island settlers. Also the ruins of the officer residences may be seen on the other end of its open grounds.
On one end of the open ground lie the Pacific War Memorial in memorial to the combined American and Filipino soldiers who fought against the Japanese empire during WWII. At the entrance of the memorial is a statue of an American soldier helping a wounded Filipino soldier. The American and Philippine flags rise beside the statue.
l is a dome like structure with a hole in the middle. In the center of the hall is a tablet and around the dome structure are the names of the soldiers who died in the war. At the end of the memorial is a metal sculpture in the shape of a flame. From there, a view of the island’s tail may be seen.
The last stop of the tour is the Spanish Lighthouse which dates back to the Spanish period. In the central square of the lighthouse is a marker of distances of the island from different cities in the world. Guests are allowed to climb the spiral staircases to the top of the lighthouse.
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